WASHINGTON (AP) — A police lieutenant wounded last summer during a deadly mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., is among two dozen guests the White House has invited to sit with the first lady during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.
The White House historically extends invitations to ordinary people to join the first lady in the public gallery of the House chamber during the speech, believing they can help put a human face on an issue or proposal the president will discuss during his annual address.
This year's guest list suggests gun control, education, immigration, jobs and the economy, health care and voting rights are among the issues Obama planned to highlight. The list includes Kaitlin Roig, of Greenwich, Conn., a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Roig's school also was the scene of a mass shooting in December that claimed 20 students and six educators at the school.
"Some amazing Americans will be next to me for Barack's State of the Union address," Michelle Obama wrote Tuesday on Twitter.
Also joining the first lady in her box will be Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel A. Pendleton Sr., parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed near Obama's Chicago home days after she returned from performing during inauguration festivities in Washington. Mrs. Obama attended the drum majorette's funeral on Saturday.
Oak Creek, Wis., police officer Brian Murphy was shot multiple times by a gunman who killed six worshippers in Wisconsin before taking his own life. The veteran policeman is on medical leave from the force while recovering from wounds to his head, neck and body, the White House said.
Other guests include:
— Marine Sgt. Sheena Adams, Vista, Calif., team adviser and lead instructor of the Female Engagement Team.
— Alan Aleman, Las Vegas, a Mexican immigrant and one of the first people in Nevada allowed to stay in the country under an administration initiative for immigrant children of parents in the U.S. without legal permission.
— Jack Andraka, Crownsville, Md., 16-year-old winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
— Susan Bumgarner, Norman, Okla., early childhood educator.